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The Work Of The Lord

Labor Day is the last big holiday of the summer. It is of course a secular holiday, but it may be given a spiritual interpretation. In his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15, St. Paul spoke about labor. The apostle wrote in verse 58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (I Cor. 15: 58) From this verse we may deduce a number of truths about spiritual labor in the kingdom of God.

In order for labor to be successful and productive there must be preparation for the work. To begin, there must be an intellectual preparation, i.e., there are certain things we must know. The verse just sighted starts with the word “Therefore.” Verse 58 is the last verse in the chapter and “Therefore” connects it to the preceding 57 verses. Now I Corinthians 15 is the great Resurrection chapter of the New Testament. Labor is the last thing mentioned in the chapter. It is the conclusion to St. Paul’s discourse on the resurrection, both Christ’s and our own. We are to be engaged in the work of the Lord because of our belief in the resurrection. Something great has occurred, i.e., Christ’s resurrection. Something great is going to happen, i.e., the resurrection of believers at the close of the age. Therefore, we have a strong incentive to labor for the kingdom of God now.

St. Paul tells us to be “steadfast.” We need more than a mere knowledge of correct doctrines, something that stops at the intellectual level. The doctrine must become part of our lives. If our labor is to be effective we need a personal faith in the resurrected Lord and a hope based on His deeds and promises.

The apostle also tells us to be “immovable.” Here he is referring to outside influences. We must guard against being moved off course by temptations, persecution or any of life’s pressures.

Let us not forget that the work of which we speak is “the work of the Lord.” It is not man’s work, it is God’s. It is not man’s Church, it is Christ’s. It is not our gospel, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Christians we are to work for our Lord in His kingdom.

This work consists in fulfilling what has been called The Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Both are very broad principles which need to be worked out in detail in the Church and in our individual lives.

The Great Commission is Christ’s charge to the Church that we are to share His offer of salvation with all humanity. Among His last words the Lord said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (St. Matthew 28:19,20) Such a task is monumental in its scope and must involve every Christian if the work is to be accomplished.

Jesus also gave us a second task, The Great Commandment. Our Lord said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (St. John 13:34,35) Loving one another can be hard work, because most of us are not always lovable. But the world is watching and by our love they will come to know that our Savior is real and our faith in Him is genuine. In His Olivet Discourse Jesus looked forward to the final judgment. Christ said, “Then the King will say to those on his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thristy and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.` Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirst, and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?` And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.`” (St. Mt. 25:34-40)

St. Paul ends with a word of encouragement, “...knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Yes, our labor is not in vain, meaningless, an unproductive waste of time. Results may not be immediate. We are like farmers who plant seed, nurture and cultivate plants awaiting an eventual harvest. And the harvest will come for the Lord has promised. To the Galations St. Paul wrote, “And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.” (Gal. 6:9)

by F.M.Levi

Family Picnic
Sunday, October 1, 2000, 12:30-3:30 P.M. at Arrowhead Lake picnic shelter, east of Harlem on 135th St. Take the first left into the Forest Preserve and the shelter is on the left. Bring one dish per family to share. Hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, plates, cups and drinks provided. Everyone welcome!

Sunday School
Sunday School classes begin again on September 10, 2000. Class starts at 9:30 a.m. and classes are provided for all age levels.

St. Andrew’s Preschool
The new school year begins on September 5, 2000. Do be in prayer for the staff and students that this will be a very successful year for the preschool.

In Memory
Myrtle Haas, age 97, passed away July 20, 2000. Myrtle was a long time member of this parish, a faithful Christian lady who was much loved and will be greatly missed. She is survived by her daughter, Marion (Clyde) Kregger, her son, Edward (Diane) Mills, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Missionary of The Month

Domestic Missions
Please pray for the Rev. & Mrs. Gary McGinnis (Debbie), and their children Benjamin, Seth, Samuel, Caleb, and Jacob. Christ Reformed Episcopal Mission in Bothell, Washington.

Happy Birthday
Sept. 1 - Nancy Toomey
Sept. 16 - Paul Zaleski
Sept. 19 - Sadie Case
Sept. 20 - Franklin H. Sellers, Jr.
Sept. 23 - Steve Horosinski
Sept. 28 - Brian Patrick Sutton

Thoughts on Work

Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness.
Carlyle, Past and Present

Each morning sees some task begun,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.
Longfellow, The Village Blacksmith

If any would not work, neither should he eat.
New Testament, II Thessalonians, III, 10

We work and that is godlike.- J. G. Holland.

Better to wear out than to rust out. - Bishop Cumberland.

You never will be saved by works; but let us tell you most solemnly that you never will be saved without works. - T. L. Cuyler.

Mind, it is our best work that He wants, not the dregs of our exhaustion. I think He must prefer quality to quanity. - George MacDonald.

It is not work that killls men: it is worry. Work is healthy; you could hardly put more upon a man than he can bear. Worry is rust upon the blade. It is not the revolution that destroys the machinery, but the friction. - Beecher.

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